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Other titles in the St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries series:
36 Yalta Boulevard
"36 Yalta Boulevard, like its namesake, is full of tricks; it is a brainy thriller motored by stylishness and brevity. Steinhauer evokes the baroque, bureaucratic nature of the Ministry without choking his readers on it, and he can render it humorous without being satirical. His characters, too, are subtle and biting." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
Synopses & Reviews
In 1966-67, Brano Sev, member of the feared and hated Ministry for State Security, is sent to his hometown of Bobrka to investigate the surprise reappearance of a man who fled to the West. His job takes him from the security of 36 Yalta Boulevard, State Security headquarters, all the way to Vienna, where the puzzle-pieces of conspiracy finally come together.
"Did Brano Sev, an agent of an unnamed Eastern European country, kill Bertrand Richter in Vienna in the 1960s? Or was he set up by his superiors at the Ministry of State Security, the headquarters of his service located at the address that gives Edgar-finalist Steinhauer's uneven third novel its title? And why does he have a slip of paper with the name Dijana Frankovic on it when he wakes up, bewildered, in a Vienna park? Even Sev doesn't know — amnesia! — but the consequences are all too clear: he's demoted to a dead-end factory job, 'fitting electrical wires into gauges so that the machines of socialist agriculture would never fail.' (The author ably captures socialist rhetoric.) Sev gets a chance at redemption, and the opportunity to find out what really happened, when the ministry sends him home, to the provincial town of Bbrka, to investigate a possible double agent, Jan Soroka. While the details of life behind the Iron Curtain at the height of the Cold War ring true, some readers may find the flawed Sev too undeveloped a character to care about his fate. The real story involves Sev's father, who left the country under suspicion of collaboration after WWII, but the plot's Byzantine complexity, more confusing than intriguing, clouds that classic father-son drama. Agent, Matt Williams at the Gernert Company. Author tour. (June 13)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This is an imaginative, brilliantly plotted espionage thriller, with finely detailed settings and a protagonist of marvelous complexity. Highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred Review)
"...stunning, magnificently written and thought-provoking." James Clar, The Mean Streets
"Steinhauer?s world of shadow and fog succeeds by harking back to politico thrillers that were about real politics (think Graham Greene and Len Deighton), not flash-bang gizmos." Texas Monthly
"With its shifting perceptions, pervasive paranoia, and truly unpredictable plot, this will be savored by readers of well-crafted espionage ranging from Alan Furst to John le Carré." Booklist (Starred Review)
Olen Steinhauer's first two novels, The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, launched an acclaimed literary crime series set in post--World War II Eastern Europe. Now he takes his dynamic cast of characters into the shadowy political climate of the 1960s.
State Security Officer Brano Sev's job is to do what his superiors ask, no matter what. Even if that means leaving his post to work the assembly line in a factory, fitting electrical wires into gauges. So when he gets a directive from his old bosses---the intimidating men above him at the Ministry of State Security, collectively known for the address of their headquarters on Yalta Boulevard, a windowless building consisting of blind offices and dark cells---he follows orders.
This time he is to resume his job in State Security and travel to the village of his birth in order to interrogate a potential defector. But when a villager turns up dead shortly after he arrives, Brano is framed for the murder. Again trusting his superiors, he assumes this is part of their plan and allows it to run its course, a decision that leads him into exile in Vienna, where he finally begins to ask questions.
The answers in 36 Yalta Boulevard, Olen Steinhauer's tour-de-force political thriller, teach Comrade Brano Sev that loyalty to the cause might be the biggest crime of all.
Praise for 36 Yalta Boulevard and Olen Steinhauer
"A brainy thriller motored by stylishness and brevity. Steinhauer evokes the baroque, bureaucratic nature of the Ministry without choking his readers on it, and he can render it humorous without being satirical. His characters, too, are subtle and biting."
"Brano Sev is Steinhauer's most intriguing hero yet, and that's saying something....With its shifting perceptions, pervasive paranoia, and truly unpredictable plot, this will be savored by readers of well-crafted espionage ranging from Alan Furst to John le Carré."
---Booklist (starred review)
"Steinhauer is a master at entangling a compelling protagonist in a spellbinding web where each broken thread entraps the character (and the reader) in yet another mystery. This is an imaginative, brilliantly plotted espionage thriller, with finely detailed settings and a protagonist of marvelous complexity. Highly recommended."
--Library Journal (starred review)
"A wonderfully taut tale that is part police procedural, part political thriller, part love story....Steinhauer has created a vivid world in a lost time."
---Washington Post Book World on The Confession
"A mesmerizing and richly atmospheric follow-up to his 2003 debut."
---Entertainment Weekly on The Confession
"The Confession is a clever reworking of the police procedural: The narrative-within-a-narrative exposes multiple levels of complicity and guilt that make this an affecting, sobering entry in one of the most inventive series around."
---Los Angeles Times on The Confession
About the Author
Olen Steinhauer has published stories and poetry in various literary journals over the years. His first novel, The Bridge of Sighs, the start of a five-book series chronicling Cold War Eastern Europe, was nominated for five awards. The second book of the series, The Confession, was released in the States in March 2004, and has garnered significant critical acclaim.
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